April 05, 2021

Open forums set with College of Agricultural, Life, and Physical Sciences dean finalists

Five candidates for dean of the College of Agricultural, Life, and Physical Sciences at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will meet with constituents during a series of virtual forums beginning today, April 5.

The candidates, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Anna Ball, associate dean for academic programs, College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • William Banz, professor, School of Agricultural Sciences, College of Agricultural, Life, and Physical Sciences, SIU Carbondale.
  • Eric Brevik, professor of geology and soils, Dickinson State University in North Dakota.
  • Craig Gatto, interim chair, Department of Chemistry, Illinois State University.
  • Alton Johnson, professor of water resources management, College of Engineering, Science, Technology and Agriculture, Central State University in Ohio.

Learn about candidates’ visions and goals

During their respective forums, each candidate will discuss their vision and goals for the college. Each of the candidates will participate in two open forums – one for faculty and staff, followed by one for students. A Q&A will follow each of the presentations. 

The forums give university students, staff and faculty an opportunity to meet with the candidates and ask questions about their proposed approaches to the position. The open forums are in conjunction with each of the candidates’ interviews. 

Each of the open forums for faculty and staff will be from 2 to 2:50 p.m.; for students, from 3 to 3:50 p.m. 

The open forum schedule is: 

  • Monday, April 5 – Eric Brevik.
  • Friday, April 9 – Craig Gatto.
  • April 12 – Anna Ball.
  • April 14 – William Banz.
  • April 16 – Alton Johnson. 

You can participate in the forums via the Chancellor’s YouTube channel

Dean has numerous responsibilities 

The dean is the chief academic and administrative officer for the College of Agricultural, Life, and Physical Sciences and reports to the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

The dean works with the faculty and staff in the development and maintenance of the college’s programs and policies and is responsible for its academic programs, fiscal management, personnel, external relations, recruitment and retention, among other areas. Each candidate must have an outstanding record as a teacher and scholar and a strong record of academic leadership and administrative experience.

Candidates bring varied experiences to the position

Brief summaries of each candidates’ academic appointments and education are below.

Ball has been associate dean for academic programs in the College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 2019, and is a professor in human development and family studies. She was at the University of Missouri from 2008 to 2019, where she held prior appointments as associate professor and professor in the agricultural education and leadership department, including serving as department chair from 2010 to 2016. She also held an appointment as assistant professor of agricultural education at University of Florida. 

She earned her doctorate in agricultural education and master’s degree in practical arts and vocational technical education with an emphasis in agricultural education, both from the University of Missouri. Ball earned her bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from the University of Illinois. 

Banz, a professor in SIU’s Department of Animal Science, Food and Nutrition, has been with the university since 1995. He started an assistant professor, working his way to full professor in 2005. He served as the college’s interim dean from 2019 to 2020. Prior to that, his appointments included department chair from 2013 to 2019 and assistant department chair from 2006 to 2013. He was co-chair of University Farms from 2014-2015. 

He earned his bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics and master’s degree in nutritional sciences, both from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Banz earned his doctorate in nutritional sciences with a specialization in physiology from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. 

Brevik has been with Dickinson State University since 2007, arriving as an associate professor of geology and soils and moving to full professor in 2012. He chaired the university’s Department of Natural Sciences from 2012 to 2018. He held prior academic appointments as an assistant professor and associate professor at Valdosta State University, where he was from 2001 to 2007. 

He earned his doctorate in soil science from Iowa State University and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in geology from the University of North Dakota. 

Gatto has been with Illinois State University since 2000 and has been interim chair in the university’s chemistry department since 2020. Prior to that, he was director of the School of Biological Sciences from 2010 to 2020. He has held the title university professor of cell biology and biophysics since 2015, initially earning the rank of professor in 2010. 

He earned his doctorate in physiology from the University of Missouri-Columbia and his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in zoology from Eastern Illinois University. 

Johnson has been with Central State University since 2016, where he is professor of water resources management in the College of Engineering, Science, Technology, and Agriculture. He served as the college dean from 2016 to 2020. Prior to Central State, Johnson was dean and professor in the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences at Prairie View A&M University from 2012 to 2016, serving as an associate dean there from 2011 to 2012. Before that, Johnson held academic and administrative posts at Alcorn State University and Cuttington University in Liberia.

He earned his doctorate in agronomy from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville with a concentration in soil physics. Johnson received a master’s degree in agronomy with a concentration in soil and water management and conservation from Mississippi State University, and his bachelor’s degree general agriculture from the University of Liberia.

Candidates’ full CVs and open forum review forms are available on the provost’s website.